, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 173-179

Wealth, Health, and the Moderating Role of Implicit Social Class Bias

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Abstract

Background

Subjective social status (captured by the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status) is in many cases a stronger predictor of health outcomes than objective socioeconomic status (SES).

Purpose

The study aims to test whether implicit beliefs about social class moderate the relationship between subjective social status and inflammation.

Methods

We measured implicit social class bias, subjective social status, SES, and baseline levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a marker of inflammation, in 209 healthy adults.

Results

Implicit social class bias significantly moderated the relationship between subjective social status and levels of IL-6, with a stronger implicit association between the concepts “lower class” and “bad” predicting greater levels of IL-6.

Conclusions

Implicit social class bias moderates the relationship between subjective social status and health outcomes via regulation of levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6. High implicit social class bias, particularly when one perceives oneself as having low social standing, may increase vulnerability to inflammatory processes.